Throughout December, I am featuring a different social justice organization that I personally have a passion about. We’ve covered Convoy of Hope–an aid organization that provides nutritious meals and water to victims of natural disasters, and Human Trafficking–adults & children being forced into sex slavery, creating the highest ever number of slaves in the world in human history. Give some thought about giving a gift that will last…the inner satisfaction and peace that comes when you reach out and help those who cannot help themselves.
Homeless Youth (18 and under) accounts for about 1% of the National homeless population. In Springfield, MO, a 2009 report had over 450 youth living on the streets, under overpasses and in sewer culverts, and the average age of that they were first homeless was 15. While there are many contributing factors, the most heartbreaking is that some are called “throw-away children.” Kids whose parents just don’t want them anymore. 12 year olds on the streets to defend and provide for themselves. Their innocence and the likelihood of a future out of serious trouble are destroyed.
A division of The Kitchen, Inc., the Rare Breed Youth Services help keep kids safe and off Springfield streets. We’ve served homeless and high risk disconnected youth for over a decade through our Street Outreach Drop-In Center and Transitional Living Apartment Program. Through working with us, hundreds of youth have set goals, achieved stability, completed education, become employed and moved forward in their lives.
By providing a safe place to stay and opportunities to break the chain of abuse and neglect, these kids can be productive and functional members of society. In the winter months, the Rare Breed goes into the street and distributes blankets to shield kids from the cold. In the summer, it’s bottled water. What they provide in all seasons is hope.
Having personally participated in an outreach at the transitional living facility for these youth, I was forever changed. Kids, not much older than my own, were so grateful for any encouragement and attention that adults could give them, and for simple gifts of toiletries and basic living essentials.
The Springfield, MO Rare Breed Youth Services can receive donations here, but look into your own local homeless shelters to see if there is anyway that you can donate both your time and and money to help our future…our youth!